How to Chase Down Blue Moons

Originally published Thursday, 27 August 2015.

My daughter sends me a message on my phone on Friday night. She is at her grandparent’s house, my mom and dad’s, spending a week in the same house where I grew up, with the almond tree boughs bending heavy for harvest. “I want to see the moon with you.” The blue moon, the second full moon in a month, glowing round over orchards where my kids now run and help my dad with scooping almonds from rows on the ground. The moon that made my girl sad ’cause I wasn’t with her to see it.

“I want to see it with you.”

And I think about these summer days, flying like those dandelions seeds from the power of our own breath, journeying far, where sunlight shines bright and we squint our eyes and can no longer see. Where these days go I surely cannot see.

Our little house this summer has been a haven of all things. Laughter and anger. Friendship and strife. We come together and we go apart and we stay. In all these days it’s the coming together that is consistent, two brothers with wood and glue and drafting plans, building a model house in our backyard, the model house they may live in someday. A brother and sister, a mother and daughter, a father and daughter and sons creating chaos in the kitchen, a tournament of cooking madness, with six dishes being prepared, for a family competition, at once. The days full and loud and long and fast. I hang on tight and try to will myself to remember a moment, and the next, and realize I’m surely, oh yes, going to forget it.

Oh, the days we wish would end until they do and then we wish we could go back and live the moments all again.

I can get afraid of time going by. I struggle with it not being my enemy, a scribbled note on a post-it I’ve forgotten to heed: Notice this day.  Be grateful, right now, for you are here, right now. What more do you want or need?

And that’s what it is, the problem: I forget what I need. I forget what I’m missing. And I can’t find what I’m missing while I’m being afraid of doing the wrong thing and making sorry use of the life I’ve been given. This day. It is only this day.

I ache for time to not matter so much, for heaven’s time, when there are no ticking clocks or Google calendars or beeping phones. I imagine time in heaven all stretched out, a blanket of glory and song and light, a place where the circle wraps me on up and I am singing and not alone and my Father is where I can see him and feel him and smell him. He is all around. How do I make sense of these days in this now, with the rhythm of a day being more than what I can measure, and my measuring apparatus totally wonky still?

When our girl tells us about the moon and how we need to get out of the house and see it, we know we need to pay attention. You can feel it in your bones sometimes, when something amazing is happening and you better get on an’ hurry up so you don’t miss that big ‘ol amazing thing that is making the whole world just pause and ooh and ahh. And then there is the amazing thing we don’t ever see and we didn’t even know we missed.

But this thing, this moon rising–just even because of the name–blue moon–we ran on out the door and craned our necks to try to see some glowing orb in the sky. But nothing. We couldn’t see it.

We thought about getting on the roof to see it. We knew our girl was out there in the orchards with my mom and dad and her cousins, three hours away, and they were walking down rows of trees and picking up and eating still-hot almonds up off the ground in the dark night under the light of the blue moon. And I knew the moon was where they could see it.  But we couldn’t.

We couldn’t see it, not with the houses all pushed up around us in our neighborhood of fences and cement and telephone poles. So we jumped in the car with the dog and we drove to where we could see. And there it was, shining bright just like our girl said. And I took a grainy awful photo with my phone and sent it to her and told her, “Yes, baby, I see it. I am seeing it with you.”

And I just have to believe that some of those moments we chase down and fight for are the moments God has to appreciate a bit, too. Maybe we don’t need to be afraid of what we’re missing. But, all the same, knowing beauty is right here, right in front of us, and not being able to see it, makes fighting for it, worth it. Even if, in heaven, that beauty we are so desperate for right now? It will be all around.

This post appeared originally at